Python Attack - Art by Thomas Francois-Cartier
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Thomas Francois-Cartier
Python Attack

1910

About

Best known as a sculptor of anamalia, Ecole des Beaux-Arts-trained Thomas Francois Cartier concentrated on hunting dogs and creatures of the wild. His depictions of big cats, in particular, are powerful psychological renderings equal to their formidable and life-like physical qualities. A native of Marseille, France, Cartier would have known hunting in the nearby Provencal countryside. The marble-esque mottling effect of the enameled stone base evokes the calcareous limestone and granite of this region. Southern France’s close proximity to North Africa also served as source material. In this striking piece, Cartier chose to show the moment the python delivers its coup de grace. Wrapped around the lioness, who screams out in mortal pain, the python strikes at her neck. In all her majestic splendor, the proud lioness expresses that moment hovering between the full force of life and utter powerlessness. Cartier strikes a brilliant balance between the two massive creatures - full of raw, violent power and vulnerability. Bearing witness to the physical prowess of the lioness, her well-defined musculature, her ferociously sharp teeth, and her sheer stature, we the viewers react just as incredulously as the fearless she-cat who has been reduced to a victim. There is an anthropomorphic quality to Cartier’s animals whose sculptures take on a story-like meaning. Cartier shows remarkable prescience with regards to the many wars which loomed just over the horizon. It is as if he sensed that something evil was encircling an unsuspecting people, that their hubris of overconfidence and self-assessed strength exposed a mortal vulnerability. Cartier explored the theme of struggle between big cats and snakes several times. A Jaguar versus Serpent in terra cotta received an award from the Paris Salon. His work was awarded a gold medal in 1927. The majority of Cartier’s sculptures are cast metal, and it is rare to find one of his ceramic works. To possess such an example which bears the palpable hand of the master anamalier is sublime. Cartier’s "Python Attack" is a timeless sculpture whose message from the past admonishes with living force.

Details

  • Artist
    Thomas Francois-Cartier (1879 - 1943, French)
  • Creation Year
    1910
  • Condition
    Excellent
  • Dimensions
    H 10.25 in. x W 9.5 in. x D 7.75 in.H 26.04 cm x W 24.13 cm x D 19.69 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Reference Number
    LU46731716593
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About the Seller

5 / 5
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Located in Chicago, IL
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